Historic, but not famous

Henry Chadwick, sportswriter, historian

Henry Chadwick (1824 – April 20, 1908) was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian, often called the “Father of Baseball” for his early reporting on and contributions to the development of the game. He edited the first baseball guide that was sold to the public.

He was born in England and moved to Brooklyn with his family at the age of 12. He began to write music and to teach piano and guitar, somewhat against the education he received in commerce and finance. As an adult he played cricket and rounders for amusement and began writing about the games for local newspapers.  He came across organized baseball in 1856 as a cricket reporter for The New York Times; watching a match between New York’s Eagles and Gothams. By the next year, he devoted his writing to baseball coverage for the New York Clipper and Sunday Mercury newspapers.

Chadwick helped establish the keeping of statistics and promoted individual players. He was on the rules committee and influenced the early development and coverage of the game. His devotion to and promotion of the game led him to be referred to as the “father of baseball.” In his 1861 Beadle guide, he listed totals of games played, outs, runs, home runs, and strikeouts for hitters on prominent clubs, the first database of its kind. In 1868 he wrote the first book on baseball, The Game of Baseball.

Chadwick continued editing the Spalding Base Ball Guides and producing a column for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and The New York Times. He was struck by a car in 1908, bedridden for weeks, but made it to the opening game of the season at the Polo Grounds and Washington Park in Brooklyn. He caught a cold which worsened his condition. A fall while moving furniture that year brought him to his end.

He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

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Historic, but not famous

Astin Jacobo (1929-2002), was a community advocate who played an important role in the renewal of his problem-ridden Bronx neighborhood, Crotona, a neighborhood he had lived in since 1970. He was often called the Unofficial Mayor of Crotona.

Besides doing volunteer work and serving as an organizer, Mr. Jacobo worked for decades as the custodian of St. Martin of Tours elementary school in Crotona. After moving to Crotona from his home in the Dominican Republic, he used his knowledge of sports to form children’s sports teams. A baseball academy was eventually begun in his name in The Bronx. He got to know parents, brought residents together and helped found the Community Coalition in the mid-1970’s. As founder of the Crotona Community Coalition, Mr. Jacobo helped organize residents in their own defense against crime, arson and the loss of housing and drew the attention of government officials and investors to the neighborhood’s problems and possible solutions, especially involving housing. The coalition also created tenant associations to get apartment buildings repaired and worked with the city to renovate unoccupied city-owned apartment buildings and build new houses for low-income families. It worked with a private developer to build a small shopping center on East 180th Street in Crotona, helping revive business there.

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